Formed 480 million years ago, the Appalachians are the oldest mountain range in North America. Central Appalachia boasts some of the world’s oldest river systems and most biologically diverse temperate deciduous forests. The region’s forests, streams, rivers, wetlands and floodplains host a remarkable variety of flora and fauna with long evolutionary histories. For centuries local economies have relied on the region’s rich and abundant natural resources — its expansive forests for logging, its fertile valleys for farming, and its abundant sources of energy.
Habitat loss and degradation from a range of threats, including residential, commercial and energy development, mining, agriculture and logging, have impaired forest health, water quality, wildlife populations and the communities that rely on these resources. The continuity of vast forests and unimpaired stream miles that once enabled these wildlife communities to migrate and successfully reproduce, have now been diminished.
Conservation Need & Strategies
NFWF’s Central Appalachia Business Plan is designed to improve the quality and connectivity of forest and freshwater habitat in order to increase the distribution and abundance of fish, birds and other wildlife, as evidenced by a suite of species that collectively are indicators of forest and freshwater habitat condition.
Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program
The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program restores and sustains healthy forests, rivers and streams that provide habitat for diverse native bird and aquatic populations. Priority is given to projects within seven focal geographies. The program supports projects in portions of the Appalachian region of Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.Learn More